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Ocean bird by Wallenius Wilhemsen – a shipping revolution

Ocean bird by Wallenius Wilhemsen – a shipping revolution

“The wind carries a shipping revolution” – that’s the opening statement on the dedicated Wallenius Oceanbird website.  Very much on point, and one might add, very exciting as a breath of fresh air is injected into the shipping industry by the Swedish builder.

Changes in the whole industry

Every main player in the industry is striving to reach the standards set by the IMO with regards to reductions in carbon emissions.  With the onset of new technologies onboard vessels, even shipyards are starting to prepare for this; namely Palumbo and MSC who recently signed a joint venture allowing servicing and repairs of next generation LNG powered cruise ships.

Wallenius Wilhemsen taking a different route

Whilst others others, such as NYK are going down the LNG route, Wallenius are going back to the past by harnessing the wind.  This ground-breaking technology is claiming to reduce emissions by 90% using rigging which does away with standard sails.  These are being replaced which technology which has more in common with airplane wings.  Oceanbird is aiming to remodel the entire industry.

The Swedish shipbuilder is being supported by the Swedish government and several research institutions to Oceanbird. This cargo ship has the capacity to transport 7,000 cars in its hull across the Atlantic in 12 days.  This is slower than standard car carriers which can travel at 17knots, as opposed to the Oceanbird’s 10knots. CNN reported however that, Mikael Razola, a naval architect and research project manager for Oceanbird at Wallenius Marine, highlighted that feedback from car makers is very positive. 

The “wing sails” are capable of rotating 360 degrees. They also retract to 195 feet, from their original height of 250 feet. This is for eventualities such as rough weather and manoeuvring through / underneath bridges. The vessel will also be equipped with an auxiliary engine, both to manoeuvre in and out of harbours, and as a safety measure.

The technology and the launch

The technology will not be limited to cargo ships.  The aim is to apply the concept to ships of all types such as cruise ships and more.

The oceanbird is set to ‘set-sail’ in 2024 making for a huge milestone in the shipping industry.

Gollcher represents Wallenius Wilhemsen Logistics amongst other Liner Principals. 

Oceanbird rendering. Wallenius Marine
Oceanbird rendering. Wallenius Marine